N.C. CIO leaves for private sector

Rick Webb takes a job with PricewaterhouseCoopers, joining other government executives who've recently left public service for private opportunities

Another pioneering state chief information officer has decided to leave his post for the private sector. North Carolina's Rick Webb will become managing director of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's (www.pwcglobal.com) state and local government consulting practice.

Webb, who served as North Carolina's CIO for three years, said Friday he was excited to help the firm "build partnerships with state governments and strengthen their capabilities to go online.... I can take my experience in the public sector to a broader and more diverse audience."

A recipient of the Society for Information Management's "CIO of the Year" award, Webb said he was not actively seeking a position, but he received a "grand opportunity."

"Serving as a state CIO is a challenging job, but when all is said and done, I have to consider my family first," he said.

Retaining talented IT workers has become a significant challenge for state and local governments. By leaving his state post, Webb joins CIOs from Alaska, Arizona and Georgia — all of whom have recently left for jobs in the private sector.

Webb, who instituted a program to train people in cooperation with Cisco Systems Inc. in hopes they might decide to work in the public sector, said governments must be creative.

"The financial incentive is important," Webb said. "But also there are incentives in creativity and innovation. Government needs to think about ways people are rewarded, and it is going to take creative and innovative people [to do that]."

He said it was an opportune time to leave because it is the middle of the legislative session and the CIO position will shift from the Department of Commerce to the governor's office this fall.

He believes his greatest accomplishment was reorganization. "We promoted management of information technology from an enterprise perspective, across agency boundaries," he said.

His last day is August 31.

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